Some Magic in Alibaba’s 2Q

Alibaba’s results came in above the Street, rather nicely, demonstrating that mobile sales for the Chinese eCommerce player are picking up traction and boosting margins.  The company’s stock moved up mid single digit percentages Thursday as a result. 

A boost in both the number of users of the platform and the transactions across that platform means that the continued, longstanding worries over a widespread consumer slowdown in China and beyond is not having an impact on the purse strings of the consumers within the country.

The quarter showed a total of 434 million annual active buyers across Alibaba’s properties, with a growth rate of 18 percent as measured year over year.  But it was the mobile users base that grew even more impressively, with a surge of 39 percent that took the mobile users number to 427 million.

On an adjusted basis, Alibaba earned 4.90 yuan a share (about 74 cents a share, in U.S. dollars), which was well above the 4.17 yuan a share (or 63 cents a share) that had been expected by the Street, while revenues, all in, stood at 32.2 billion yuan or $4.8 billion. That topped the 30 billion yuan that had been estimated by the Street. 

With some additional detail on the revenues, Alibaba said that while total sales were up 59 percent, China retail marketplace growth was at 49 percent year over year, with management noting that this latter statistic was the highest growth rate in China since the firm’s IPO roughly two years ago. 

Gross merchandise volume was up 24 percent, to 837 billion yuan (about $124 billion), and management had also noted that mobile transactions made up about 75 percent of that tally.

In an interview with CNBC, Alibaba Vice Chairman Joe Tsai said that the firm was “just killing it on mobile” while also noting that monetization via mobile has exceeded the rate seen for PCs.  Alibaba is targeting a doubling of its transaction volume within the next four years.  The company has also been looking to grow beyond Chinese borders, with an eye on the U.S. and other markets. 


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